Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting From There To Here

It was just before Halloween, 2008, when I was called into my supervisor's office. He'd told me and the other paralegal that due to a decline in business one of us was going to be let go. Part of me wanted the other paralegal to be laid off. The other, wanted it to be me who was impacted. Not sure why I felt that way. I'd spent 19 years with the company. Had an office, an admin, and knew the job inside and out.

I worked as an employment law paralegal. Handled complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the various state agencies. I investigated charges of alleged discrimination, prepped witnesses, and supervisors, dealt with all levels of management and outside law firms. Every day was a new adventure.

At the same time, I was losing my zest for the position. I was ready for a change. Maybe that was why part of me wanted to be the one selected for layoff.

When I entered my supervisor's office, and closed the door, he asked me to sit.  I sat. I knew at that moment it was in fact me who was about to lose my job. I'm not sure how I felt when he confirmed this for me. Like someone had punched me in the gut. I was good at my job. The only one in the legal department who did the kind of work I did, and had been doing for a long time. The rationale was that the tasks I performed were going to be pushed onto Human Resources.

I was given sixty days to find other employment. Technically I no longer needed to report to work. However, I was allowed to use the computer and other resources to begin my new job search.

On the county website I found job postings for a 9-1-1 Dispatch Operator. I completed the application and submitted it.

Growing up I wanted to be a police officer. Even started my college days enrolled in a criminal justice program. When I learned that due to my eyesight I would not pass a police entrance physical because of such poor vision, I gave up. A shame, really. Could have used that degree to expand into an array of positions. But I'd been young, and didn't know how to see the bigger picture at the time.

Over the next several months I submitted resumes and job applications to select posts at first, and then to pretty much anywhere as I began to panic about my lack of employment. Luckily, I was given severance pay that would carry me until the end of September 2009.  That, and unemployment insurance -- since, after all, I had lost my job through no fault of my own.

In February I received a letter from the county telling me that an exam for the 9-1-1 Dispatch position was scheduled for early April.  That day came, and I went, and I thought for sure I'd blown the test. We were given 20 minutes to review test directions, maps, codes and abbreviations, as well as Police squad car numbers and assigned work areas. Wearing headphones and listening to mock emergency calls, I was then to enter addresses, brief text about the emergency, forced to search the map for the location of the call, and figure out which officers to dispatch to the scene.  Between each call was about 60 seconds of silence in which to complete the computer form.

I walked out of the exam thinking, "Well, I won't be hearing back from them."

In June, I found out I'd scored a 90% and that I'd be called for the next open interview.

I had contacted a temporary employment agency by now. No one had responded to any of the resumes I'd sent out. I was starting to feel apprehensive about not yet having a job. The unemployment rate was on the rise, and it seemed like -- despite my experience and degree -- no one was hiring paralegals. The agency landed me a job in a factory, working 12-hour shifts.

Thankfully, my interview with 9-1-1 was scheduled for mid-June, followed by 4-hours sitting on the operations floor listening in on actual calls.

In late July, I was sent a letter of conditional employment. The conditions of employment were based on my passing a: 1) Physical, 2) Finger printing check, 3) Police background check, 4) Drug test, and 5) Psychological exam.

These appointments were set for early August.

We, candidates, were told we would not know specifics of pass/fail.

In September I received yet another letter from the county. I'll admit, I was nervous about opening it. While I knew I'd pass the physical, finger printing, police background and drug test, the psychological exam had me worried. Not that I thought I was crazy. But because the thousands of questions asked and answered left me feeling light-headed and unsure about anything. The one-on-one with the psychologist lasted twenty minutes. He focused his questions on my temper, and recent divorce. I answered questions truthfully, but wondered what it was, exactly, he was digging for.

When I opened the envelope I let out a sigh.

I was to begin training for a new job with 9-1-1 on Monday, October 26, 2009 ...

****Please stop back to read more*****

Thomas Phillips
Author of The Molech Prophecy

1 comment:

  1. Wow, he actually passed the psychological exam? I am impressed! :) lol jk